by Laura Parker Roerden

I once saw a torpedo of a barracuda
rake through a school of fairy basslets,
gorging on the smaller fish as if they
were kernels of popcorn at a movie.

The barracuda was all torque and fang;
the fairy basslets a delicate purple
and orange, like a fragile glass vase
created by a master artisan.

The fairy basslets shattered and crowned,
as if a slow motion video of a bullet tearing flesh.
The barracuda’s silvery length glistened in the light,
like a knife. I felt a deep sense of peace.

I once saw a boa constrictor dead on the street,
two perfectly paced tractor tires impressed on its body
its guts squeezed onto the pavement.
The snake’s head was somewhere far

ahead of its now severed tail. It stretched from
jungle across man’s path to hell and beyond.
The snake’s skin was stuck to asphalt, the bones
now on the outside. I jumped out of my own skin.

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